4.19.2010

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 : 4 of 5

Ghost in the Shell 2.0 [Blu-ray]Since I seem to be a full-fledged Ghost in the Shell fan now, I decided I needed to have the original anime film (based on the Masamume manga that started it all) in my collection. Ghost in the Shell was a mind-blowing movie for 1995 and is certainly still revered by animation experts today, but in 2008 the original film was updated with CG segments and other changes, generating a lot of controversy among anime purists. It was tough deciding what DVD edition to buy, but Amazon's anime sale helped me choose this Blu-ray disc, once I discovered that it includes not only the modern version, but also the original untouched movie that I know and love (in a somewhat lower quality format, but still entirely enjoyable). It was really interesting to experience the 2.0 version, and I have mixed emotions about the changes. I'm definitely in favor of the enhanced quality and even the new color palette choices, because they really look amazing and beautiful (especially on Blu-ray) and give the film a certain sophisticated look that wasn't there before. However, the segments that have been entirely replaced with CG animation, including Motoko's iconic first appearance and graceful fall against the sprawling city, are entirely pointless. Not only are they really jarring when the movie switches back to 2D animation, but they simply don't look as good as the original hand-drawn work! But since I have both versions of the film that I can enjoy at any time, I'm not complaining too much. This is still a fantastic Blu-ray release with great sound and some of the most readable subtitles I've ever seen. A half-hour making of feature is also include, although it was obviously shot in the 90s (watch out for really cheesy PowerPoint backgrounds!) and takes great pains to explain CG compositing techniques that everyone takes for granted today. Since there's not really a "perfect" release of Ghost in the Shell available, I'm happy with what this Blu-ray offers, and I know I'll enjoy experiencing it again from time to time.